What a wonderful idea, Know thy Neighbor, we should do this everywhere, for more reasons.
Osama has personally appointed a replacement, serving French onion soup, but instead of onion soup your hard roll is floating in Texas Tea sprinkled caution 'they still want you dead'. Still towing the same ol line, terror, O-some big bad wolf somewhere in a cave directs and holds the United States Military in Iraq, these damn elusive wolves. Tom Engelhardt sums up the history of Iraqi version of Osome wolf, al-Qaeda, Iraq War turning points, making some very dizzy indeed.
Osama Bin Laden was CIA supported during the cold war, he turned on the march of democracy and we have war. Being one that is convinced he is as false as any myth put out there. Al-Zarqawi was just convenient and possibly a free convenient 'terrorist of the al-Qaeda of Iraq'. I have a Harley shirt from Oman, somewhere, on the logo for the Harley store the eagle is burning, as biker culture is representative of freedom even if just of the road so to is the symbol of freedom probably same as here, freedom of oppression from anyone outside of our culture, just like there here there are gangs. But never have we labeled it Harleyism, but we label with some sort of sick honor as a worthy terrorist, Zarqawi-ism. An onward is declared for World War III, the long war, the war on terrorism, an onward in the era of izziums and wars of ideas. Like the falsity of Zarqawi himself, the falsity of these battles, this war and it's falsities it appeals with zeal to the base, the foundation that still supports this war. Fighting idealism with bombs, who's idea was that after all? Some think tank, without negotiators, diplomats and honest fair business practices what other tool in their reach. Some links relating, postings and then when time permits, more splaning if you wonder why.
wondering does anyone remember this as referenced by the washington post way back in april.
Two slides from a briefing prepared for Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, describe a U.S. military propaganda campaign that was intended to highlight the role of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, in the Iraqi insurgency. By emphasizing his foreign origin, the "psychological operations" effort sought to play on a perceived Iraqi dislike of foreigners and so split the insurgency. by barefeet on Fri Jun 9th, 2006 at 02:48:44 PM EDT Truthout Town Meeting.
We should make a law, and in that law have an admended extra just as important law that no signing statements allowed, this law would relocate the office of Defense Secretary during times of war, to the war. Allowing safe distance, safe shelter provided and security adequate just enough to keep this civilian person protected while they see the war first hand and guide the war first hand, at the war. Better decisions made the better the view, the view to the truth of what is really going on.
10 June 2006
What al-Zarqawi's Death Means for Iraq
Drafted By: Adam Wolfe
In December 2005, according to press reports, U.S. military intelligence identified Sheikh Abd al-Rahman as al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's spiritual mentor. By following al-Rahman for months, and gathering further information, the U.S. military was able to confirm that al-Zarqawi was at a safe house near Baquba, north of Baghdad, on the night of June 7. An air strike was called in and al-Zarqawi died shortly thereafter as a result of injuries sustained from the bombing run. Hours after the announcement of al-Zarqawi's death, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appointed his ministers of interior, defense and national security. These incidents marked two positive developments for Iraq's transition. Nevertheless, when analyzed in context, they are unlikely to reverse the trend toward instability that has dogged Iraq since shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein's government.
As a result of the nature of al-Qaeda in Iraq, it is difficult to asses the impact that al-Zarqawi's death will have on the insurgency and the sectarian violence. It seems certain, however, that it will do little to stem the bloodshed. The impact of his death depends largely on how much control he had over al-Qaeda in Iraq and the importance of this organization to the insurgency. By looking at both aspects, it appears that al-Qaeda in Iraq will most likely survive its leader's death and that its impact on the fighting in the country will be marginal, if only because al-Qaeda comprises a small portion of the insurgency.
The hierarchy of al-Zarqawi's organization is rather opaque, and it is not clear how much control he had over the network of foreign fighters in Iraq. At least 20 of al-Zarqawi's "lieutenants" have been captured or killed in Iraq since 2003, but it seems that the organization has been able to quickly fill any open posts. In fact, shortly after al-Zarqawi's death, an Islamist network published a statement naming Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Iraqi, who was apparently al-Zarqawi's "deputy emir," as the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Some confusion has developed over this announcement because al-Iraqi has the same name as al-Zarqawi's spiritual adviser, who U.S. authorities claim was killed in the bombing run. Analysts have speculated that these may be two different individuals. At the same time, U.S. authorities put forth another name, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, as the likely successor of al-Zarqawi. Abu Ayyub al-Masri was named by Major General William Caldwell, the U.S. spokesman in Iraq. Al-Masri is an Egyptian who allegedly came to Iraq in 2002 from Afghanistan where he shared "communications" with al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. These two developments indicate that al-Qaeda in Iraq's organizational structure will continue, and it may even grow in strength if the new leader proves to be more effective.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's reputation as a brutal, uncompromising militant, without strong religious credentials, likely made even Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri uncomfortable in aligning with him. His violent attacks made him unpopular with segments of the Sunni Arab population in Iraq, who shared his goals of forcing the United States out of the country and reestablishing Sunni dominance. Al-Zarqawi also weakened a Muslim front against the United States by encouraging attacks on Shi'a. For instance, in an audiotape that al-Zarqawi released shortly before his death, he said, "The roots of Jews and the Shi'a are the same" and even went so far as to brand Shi'a leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as an "atheist."
These statements further split the Muslim community in Iraq, and heightened tensions between Sunni and Shi'a elsewhere creating the possibility that Islamist militants could turn on each other, damaging bin Laden's efforts at vitalizing all Muslims against the "far enemy" -- the United States and its allies. In July 2005, for example, al-Zawahiri reportedly sent a letter to al-Zarqawi, questioning his attacks against the Shi'a; the letter warned that "questions will circulate among mujahideen circles and their opinion makers about the correctness of this conflict with the Shi'a at this time."
Indeed, although al-Zarqawi was successful in inspiring foreigners to join the insurgency in Iraq, as a popular leader of Iraqis he was a failure. One danger that his death leaves open for the United States and the Iraqi government is the possibility that al-Zarqawi's successor will be more competent. If al-Qaeda in Iraq is successful in winning more Sunni hearts and minds in Iraq, it could prove to be a larger threat to the new Iraqi government than under al-Zarqawi's helm. As a result of the time spent between al-Masri and al-Zawahiri, analysts think that if al-Masri takes control of the organization, he may direct al-Qaeda in Iraq on a course that more closely resembles bin Laden's strategy. Additionally, al-Iraqi, the other possible replacement for al-Zarqawi, is thought to be of Iraqi origin (al-Zarqawi was Jordanian), which means he would probably be better able to rally the support of Iraqis.
It is worth noting that al-Zarqawi's organization represents only a small portion of the insurgency. Still, a higher proportion of the casualties in Iraq are attributed to al-Zarqawi's organization because of its willingness to use controversial tactics that the domestic insurgents are not. Nevertheless, as a result of al-Zarqawi's small role in the insurgency, his death will not diminish the sectarian tensions or the current level of violence.
The Iraqi constitution was drafted along sectarian lines, the government was formed along sectarian lines, and the security forces are largely operating as sectarian forces. The trend toward the fracturing of Iraq along sectarian lines will not be reversed by al-Zarqawi's death, nor will the violence associated with this trend. It appears that most U.S. officials agree that there will not be a fall in the level of violence in Iraq as a result of al-Zarqawi's death.
The appointment of an interior minister shortly after the assassination, however, has the potential to slow this sectarian trend. Jawad al-Bolani is not associated with any militias, unlike his predecessor at the ministry, and will make it his priority to route out the SCIRI-aligned Shi'a "death squads" believed to be targeting Sunnis. His ability to take on the militias, however, will be determined by his capacity to take on the divided factions within the Shi'a United Iraqi Alliance, as each side is unlikely to concede its militia without the other doing so first. Al-Bolani faces a Herculean task in achieving this goal, but the survival of his government may well depend on his success.
While Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death is a major public relations coup for the U.S. military and the Iraqi government, it is unlikely to have a major impact on the trend toward the sectarian fracturing of Iraq. His forces composed only a small part of the insurgency, and guerrilla fighters associated with other violent organizations and militias will continue their operations against the Iraqi government and U.S.-led forces. Additionally, it appears that al-Zarqawi will be quickly replaced like his "lieutenants" before him. While al-Zarqawi was the face of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and for the most part the organization's only visible figurehead, his replacement may prove more effective at garnering domestic support for the organization. Finally, the appointment of a minister of the interior has the potential for a greater impact on reducing the sectarian violence, although here, too, it seems al-Bolani's task is too great, and he will likely have little impact in reversing the trend toward Iraq's fragmentation.
Report Drafted By:
US-Made Man an "Enemy to America's Liking"
By Patrick Cockburn
The New Zealand Herald
Saturday 10 June 2006
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a little-known Jordanian petty criminal before he became the Islamic fundamentalist fanatic denounced by the United States in 2003 as an insurgent leader of great importance.
His status enabled him to recruit men and raise money to wage a cruel war, mostly against Iraqi civilians.
In one macabre innovation, he staged beheadings of Westerners - including Ken Bigley and Eugene Armstrong - which were then put on the internet.
Zarqawi's death in an airstrike by American F-16s on a house north of Baghdad is important in Iraq because he was the most sectarian of the Sunni resistance leaders, butchering Shiites as heretics as worthy of death as foreign invaders.
His chosen instrument was the suicide bomber. The targets were almost invariably young Shiite men desperate for work and queuing for jobs as policemen or soldiers.
President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed news of his death but, paradoxically, among those most pleased by his elimination may be the other insurgent leaders. "He was an embarrassment to the resistance," said Iraqi commentator Ghassan al-Attiyah. "They never liked him taking all the limelight and the Americans exaggerated his role."
Zarqawi's rise was attributable to the US in two ways. His name was unknown when he was denounced in 2003, by Secretary of State Colin Powell before the UN Security Council as the link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
There was no evidence for this connection and Zarqawi did not at that time belong to al Qaeda. But to Muslims, Powell's denunciation made Zarqawi a symbol of resistance to the US. It also fitted Washington's political agenda that attacking Iraq was part of the war on terror.
The invasion gave Zarqawi a further boost. Within months of the overthrow of Hussein, Iraq's Sunni Arab community of five million appeared united in opposition to the occupation. Armed resistance was popular and for the first time Sunni militants known as the Salafi had a bedrock of support in Iraq.
The next critical moment in Zarqawi's career was the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003. Previously, US military and civilian spokesmen blamed everything on the former Iraqi leader.
No sooner was Saddam captured than the US spokesmen began to mention Zarqawi's name in every sentence. It emerged this year that the US emphasis on Zarqawi as the prime leader of the Iraqi resistance was part of a carefully calculated propaganda programme.
A dubious letter from Zarqawi was conveniently discovered. One internal briefing document quoted by the Washington Post records Brigadier General Kimmitt, then-chief US military spokesman: "The Zarqawi psy-op programme is the most successful information campaign to date."
The US campaign was largely geared towards the American public, aiming to establish that the invasion of Iraq was a reasonable response to the September 11 attacks.
This meant it was necessary to show that al Qaeda was strong in Iraq and play down the fact that this had happened only after the invasion.
In an increasingly anti-American Arab world, hostility from the US made it easy for Zarqawi to develop his own organisation and finance it.
The siege of Fallujah in April 2004 and the storming of the city by US Marines in November led to al-Tawhid wal-Jihad - whose name was later changed to al Qaeda's Organisation in Iraq - becoming a powerful force. The suicide bombing campaign had already begun in November 2003 and from the beginning was directed against Shiites as much as foreign troops or officials.
Zarqawi's war was devised to have the maximum political impact. Actions such as the beheading of foreign captives made him an enemy to America's liking.
Although US military officials admitted that few insurgents were non-Iraqi, Zarqawi's Jordanian origins were useful in suggesting that the insurrection was orchestrated outside Iraq.
There were always going to be sectarian and ethnic differences between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds after Saddam's overthrow. But he also did much to deepen sectarian hatred by killing Iraqi Shiites whenever he could.
This destabilised the Iraqi Government.
It also made his anti-Shiite fanaticism increasingly acceptable.
His death may lessen Shiite-Sunni sectarianism but it probably comes too late. In the savage civil war taking place in Diyala, the province where he was killed, Iraq's communities hunt each other down and those in the minority are forced to flee, fight or die.
27,000 reasons for no more war ...
Don't Forget Those Other 27,000 Nukes
By Hans Blix
June 8 2006, International Herald Tribune
Stockholm, Sweden -- During the Cold War, it proved possible to reach many significant agreements on disarmament. Why does it seem so impossible now, when the great powers no longer
feel threatened by one another?
Almost all the talk these days is about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states like Iran and North Korea, or to terrorists. Foreign ministers meet again and again, concerned that Iran has enriched a few milligrams of uranium to a 4 percent level.
Some want to start waving the stick immediately. They are convinced that Iran will eventually violate its commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to forego nuclear weapons.
While it's desirable that the foreign ministers talk about Iran, they don't seem to devote any thought to the fact that there are still some 27,000 real nuclear weapons in the United States, Russia and other states, and that many of these are on hair-trigger alert.
Nor do the ministers seem to realize that the determination they express to reduce the nuclear threat is diminished by their failure to take seriously their commitment, made within the framework of the NPT, to move toward the reduction and elimination of their own nuclear arsenals.
The stagnation in global disarmament is only part of the picture. In the United States, military authorities want new types of nuclear weapons; in Britain, the government is considering the replacement, at tremendous cost, of one generation of nuclear weapons by another - as defense against whom?
Last year a UN summit of heads of states and governments failed to adopt a single recommendation on how to attain further disarmament or prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. For nearly a decade, work at the disarmament conference in Geneva has stood still. It is time for a revival.
One can well understand that policymakers in the United States, as elsewhere, feel disappointment and concern that the global instruments against nuclear proliferation - the NPT and international inspection - have proved to be insufficient to stop Iraq, North Korea, Libya and possibly Iran on their way to nuclear weapons.
This may help explain their inclination to use the enormous military potential of the U.S. as either a threat or a direct means of preventing proliferation.
However, after three years of a costly and criticized war in Iraq to destroy weapons that did not exist, doubts are beginning to arise about the military method, and a greater readiness may emerge to try global cooperation once again to reduce and eventually eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
A report with 60 concrete recommendations to the states of the world on what they could do to free themselves from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, worked out by an independent international commission of which I was the chairman, is now available at www.wmdcommission.org.
Apart from proposals for measures to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction to more states and terrorists, the report points to two measures that could turn current concerns about renewed arms races into new hopes for common security. In both cases, success would depend on the United
A U.S. ratification of the comprehensive test-ban treaty would, in all likelihood, lead other states to ratify and bring all such tests to an end, making the development of nuclear weapons more difficult. Leaving the treaty in limbo, as has been done since 1996, is to risk new weapons testing.
The second measure would be to conclude an internationally verified agreement to cut off the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes.
This would close the tap everywhere for more weapons material and would be of special importance if an agreement on nuclear cooperation with the United States were to give India access to more uranium than it has at the moment.
It is positive that the U.S. has recently presented a draft cutoff agreement, but hard to understand why this agreement does not include international inspection. Do the drafters think that the recent record of national intelligence indicates that international verification is superfluous?
Hans Blix is a former chief UN weapons inspector.
Â© 2006 The Internaional Herald Tribune
BACK TO THE BUNKER
By William M. Arkin
Sunday, June 4, 2006; B01
On Monday, June 19, about 4,000 government workers representing more than 50 federal agencies from the State Department to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will say goodbye to their families and set off for dozens of classified emergency facilities stretching from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to the foothills of the Alleghenies. They will take to the bunkers in an "evacuation" that my sources describe as the largest "continuity of government" exercise ever conducted, a drill intended to prepare the U.S. government for an event even more catastrophic than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The exercise is the latest manifestation of an obsession with government survival that has been a hallmark of the Bush administration since 9/11, a focus of enormous and often absurd time, money and effort that has come to echo the worst follies of the Cold War. The vast secret operation has updated the duck-and-cover scenarios of the 1950s with state-of-the-art technology -- alerts and updates delivered by pager and PDA, wireless priority service, video teleconferencing, remote backups -- to ensure that "essential" government functions continue undisrupted should a terrorist's nuclear bomb go off in downtown Washington.
But for all the BlackBerry culture, the outcome is still old-fashioned black and white: We've spent hundreds of millions of dollars on alternate facilities, data warehouses and communications, yet no one can really foretell what would happen to the leadership and functioning of the federal government in a catastrophe.
After 9/11, The Washington Post reported that President Bush had set up a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work outside Washington on a rotating basis to ensure the continuity of national security. Since then, a program once focused on presidential succession and civilian control of U.S. nuclear weapons has been expanded to encompass the entire government. From the Department of Education to the Small Business Administration to the National Archives, every department and agency is now required to plan for continuity outside Washington.
Yet according to scores of documents I've obtained and interviews with half a dozen sources, there's no greater confidence today that essential services would be maintained in a disaster. And no one really knows how an evacuation would even be physically possible.
Moreover, since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the definition of what constitutes an "essential" government function has been expanded so ridiculously beyond core national security functions -- do we really need patent and trademark processing in the middle of a nuclear holocaust? -- that the term has become meaningless. The intent of the government effort may be laudable, even necessary, but a hyper-centralized approach based on the Cold War model of evacuations and bunkering makes it practically worthless.
That the continuity program is so poorly conceived, and poorly run, should come as no surprise. That's because the same Federal Emergency Management Agency that failed New Orleans after Katrina, an agency that a Senate investigating committee has pronounced "in shambles and beyond repair," is in charge of this enormous effort to plan for the U.S. government's survival.
Continuity programs began in the early 1950s, when the threat of nuclear war moved the administration of President Harry S. Truman to begin planning for emergency government functions and civil defense. Evacuation bunkers were built, and an incredibly complex and secretive shadow government program was created.
At its height, the grand era of continuity boasted the fully operational Mount Weather, a civilian bunker built along the crest of Virginia's Blue Ridge, to which most agency heads would evacuate; the Greenbrier hotel complex and bunker in West Virginia, where Congress would shelter; and Raven Rock, or Site R, a national security bunker bored into granite along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border near Camp David, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff would command a protracted nuclear war. Special communications networks were built, and evacuation and succession procedures were practiced continually.
When the Soviet Union crumbled, the program became a Cold War curiosity: Then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney ordered Raven Rock into caretaker status in 1991. The Greenbrier bunker was shuttered and a 30-year-old special access program was declassified three years later.
Then came the terrorist attacks of the mid-1990s and the looming Y2K rollover, and suddenly continuity wasn't only for nuclear war anymore. On Oct. 21, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 67, "Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations." No longer would only the very few elite leaders responsible for national security be covered. Instead, every single government department and agency was directed to see to it that they could resume critical functions within 12 hours of a warning, and keep their operations running at emergency facilities for up to 30 days. FEMA was put in charge of this broad new program.
On 9/11, the program was put to the test -- and failed. Not on the national security side: Vice President Cheney and others in the national security leadership were smoothly whisked away from the capital following procedures overseen by the Pentagon and the White House Military Office. But like the mass of Washingtonians, officials from other agencies found themselves virtually on their own, unsure of where to go or what to do, or whom to contact for the answers.
In the aftermath, the federal government was told to reinvigorate its continuity efforts. Bush approved lines of succession for civil agencies. Cabinet departments and agencies were assigned specific emergency responsibilities. FEMA issued new preparedness guidelines and oversaw training. A National Capital Region continuity working group established in 1999, comprising six White House groups, 15 departments and 61 agencies, met to coordinate.
But all the frenetic activity did not produce a government prepared for the worst. A year after 9/11, and almost three years after the deadline set in Clinton's 1998 directive, the Government Accounting Office evaluated 38 agencies and found that not one had addressed all the issues it had been ordered to. A 2004 GAO audit of 34 government continuity-of-operations plans found total confusion on the question of essential functions. One unnamed organization listed 399 such functions. A department included providing "speeches and articles for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary" among its essential duties, while neglecting many of its central programs.
The confusion and absurdity have continued, according to documents I've collected over the past few years. In June 2004, FEMA told federal agencies that essential services in a catastrophe would include not only such obvious ones as electric power generation and disaster relief but also patent and trademark processing, student aid and passport processing. A month earlier, FEMA had told states and local communities that library services should be counted as essential along with fire protection and law enforcement.
None of this can be heartening to Americans who want to believe that in a crisis, their government can distinguish between what is truly essential and what isn't -- and provide it.
Just two years ago, an exercise called Forward Challenge '04 pointed up the danger of making everyone and everything essential: Barely an hour after agencies were due to arrive at their relocation sites, the Office of Management and Budget asked the reconstituted government to identify emergency funding requirements.
As one after-action report for the exercise later put it in a classic case of understatement: "It was not clear . . . whether this would be a realistic request at that stage of an emergency."
This year's exercise, Forward Challenge '06, will be the third major interagency continuity exercise since 9/11. Larger than Forward Challenge '04 and the Pinnacle exercise held last year, it requires 31 departments and agencies (including FEMA) to relocate. Fifty to 60 are expected to take part.
According to government sources, the exercise will test the newly created continuity of government alert conditions -- called COGCONs -- that emulate the DEFCONs of the national security community. Forward Challenge will begin with a series of alerts via BlackBerry and pager to key officials. It will test COGCON 1, the highest level of preparedness, in which each department and agency is required to have at least one person in its chain of command and sufficient staffing at alternate operating facilities to perform essential functions.
Though key White House officials and military leadership would be relocated via the Pentagon's Joint Emergency Evacuation Program (JEEP), the civilians are on their own to make it to their designated evacuation points.
But fear not: Each organization's COOP, or continuity of operations plan, details the best routes to the emergency locations. The plans even spell out what evacuees should take with them (recommended items: a combination lock, a flashlight, two towels and a small box of washing powder).
Can such an exercise, announced well in advance, hope to re-create any of the tensions and fears of a real crisis? How do you simulate the experience of driving through blazing, radiated, panic-stricken streets to emergency bunker sites miles away?
As the Energy Department stated in its review of Forward Challenge '04, "a method needs to be devised to realistically test the ability of . . . federal offices to relocate to their COOP sites using a scenario that simulates . . . the monumental challenges that would be involved in evacuating the city."
With its new plans and procedures, Washington may think it has thought of everything to save itself. Forward Challenge will no doubt be deemed a success, and officials will pronounce the continuity-of-government project sound. There will be lessons to be learned that will justify more millions of dollars and more work in the infinite effort to guarantee order out of chaos.
But the main defect -- a bunker mentality that considers too many people and too many jobs "essential" -- will remain unchallenged.
William M. Arkin writes the Early Warning blog for washingtonpost.com and is the author of "Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World" (Steerforth Press).
Â© 2006 The Washington Post Company
Wonder what your politician is hiding behind the marriage and flag issues, non-issues, it is what we engage them with is what becomes the issue. The issues at hand, the important ones, are the ones you deal with yourself living your life and those close to you. My self I see a young woman who lives near here who I do not know, but my heart goes out to her and her daughter that will never see her father, ever. The fallen leave life, and lives for these fables and myths they fight for. It was a stunt, at a convenient time, the ism guy. Working for a living with a living wage, above poverty level. Ironic that Tennesseans have a doctor in congress and to his credit is only the credits he handed over to pharma industry, not any real issues of health care or public health he cares to address : :